Rampant climate change. Unchecked and self-serving authorities. Clinging to imported traditions. Thriving but hostile indigenous tribes. Racism. Starvation. Murder. It is Western Settlement, Greenland, late fifteenth century, and the Norse colony there is plagued by all these problems and many more. Green Skies tell their tale through the eyes of a young farmer named Bjorn Thorsson, a man whose efforts to eke out a living are mirrored countless times across his community. Season after season, from midnight sun to polar night, their hardships mount until the settlement’s very survival is in question. Will the Norse be able to limp their way through another harsh winter? Or will the Inuit finally push them over the brink? Will Bjorn be able to find peace in his eerily modern medieval world? Or will he succumb to the despair that haunts his neighbours and afflicts his nation? Green Skies is the story of the struggle we all face to survive in a changing world — physically, certainly, but much more so psychologically.
The back cover copy of Green Skies changes subject at random, and is thick with clichés. It tells me very little about the book and its claims to greater things ring hollow when considered alongside the lacklustre text inside.
I tried my hardest with this book but found it terribly slow reading. The pace drags; the illustrations (which are really rather important for a graphic novel) are competent at best and never veer towards excitement. The story lacks tension and rhythm; the characters merge into an homogenous, bearded whole; and my only concern as I read on was how the polar bear they captured could survive for so long in a cage little bigger than itself, with no food or water to sustain it.
I read fifty-seven out of two hundred and ten printed pages and, had I found this book in the slush pile, I’d have stopped reading much sooner. I’m afraid it’s a dreary read with little to recommend it.
This review also appears on my bigger blog, How Publishing Really Works. Comments there are closed so if you’d like to discuss this book or my review, you have to do it here. Please do!
Spark Your Creativity with 100 Inspiring Poses
Composition and Visual Pathway
Control Light to Scupt the Figure
Recruit and Interact with Models
Market Your Work
The human body has been an inspiration for artists since before the invention of photography. Naturally, nudes were one of the first subjects of photography as well.
This illustrated how-to guide can be enjoyed by anyone, but is written for two main audiences: the accomplished photographer who wants insight from a peer into the genre of nude photography, and the serious amateur who wants a guided introduction to the field.
The processes are arranged step-by-step. You’ll find more than just a selection of photos and a dissection of each; you’ll see full lighting diagrams as well as a frank discussion of the techniques and pitfalls in the days and weeks leading up to making a nude image. From finding your first nude model to selling your first nude photo, the guide will take you through lighting, posing, and-post processing with Photoshop.
You’ll learn from the author’s twenty years of experience photographing hundreds of nude models.
True Confessions of Nude Photography has fallen foul of the usual problems which trouble most self published books I’ve seen: slapdash punctuation, run-on sentences, jumbled sentences, missing or extra words, and claims which are not be supported by logic. I read just seven of its one hundred and twenty-two pages despite doing my best to be generous: it’s a jerky read made all the more irritating by its frequent repetitions.
I found both its title and the author’s references to “the beauty of the human body” misleading: these terms imply—to me at least—that the book discusses photographing the human body in all its forms; but the only pictures the book contains are of over-skinny, pouting young women. While I can understand that these women might well appeal to the book’s author/photographer, some of the pictures included are quite remarkably unappealing. Some of the poses he’s chosen look extremely uncomfortable; despite this, the two young women who appear together in some of his shots (both of them fit young women, of course) seem very enthusiastic about posing together. I also found some of the advice given on how to find models just a little disturbing: call me prudish, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for anyone to ask young women to pose for them without explaining right from the start that they’ll be expected to strip off their scanties. It reeks of predatory, manipulative behaviour to me, and although that might not be the author’s intention it is a tactic that I find abusive.
If you want to know how to photograph naked people, there have to be better books than this for you to learn from; but if all you want is a poorly-written, poorly-edited book featuring a few competent photos of naked young women, then this is the book for you.
When a bomb, looking for a friend, follows a young boy home, trouble breaks out in a suburban household that is just trying to keep peace with the angry neighbors next door.
I make it quite clear that I don’t review picture books so by sending me a picture book to review, the authors of The Bomb That Followed Me Home: A Fairly Twisted Fairy Tale already have a strike against them.
Because this is a picture book it has relatively little text and I’ll admit, I consequently reached the end before I’d found my fifteen errors: so as I do follow the rules here, I shall now review the book even though it shouldn’t have been submitted to me in the first place.
According to the the press release which was included with this book, the author and illustrator responsible for this book are being deliberately provocative in an attempt to make their readers think about social issues: I wish they’d spent a little more time working on their story, and a little less time thinking about how clever they could be, because it just doesn’t work.
In the book, a bomb follows a little boy home; the next-door neighbour shouts at the boy when he takes a short cut through her garden; and as his parents don’t like the neighbour either, they end up giving the bomb to her. You can guess the ending. And if you want to be helpful you could also try to guess the social commentary contained within the story because all I can see here is a book with an ugly cover and a retro-in-all-the-wrong-ways design; an unengaging text with a few clumsy attempts at humour and characterisation, and a glib, self-congratulatory tone which alienated me right from the start.
Ralphina, the roly-poly is sad because she gets lonely in her garden and wants a friend to play with. But she is so small that nobody seems to notice her. With her mommy’s encouragement, Ralphina digs up a clever solution to her loneliness and in the process learns that she has a lot to offer in friendship. (Did you notice the little play on words there? Get it . . . digs . . . garden? Ha!). Discover how friendship can make your world blossom in all the colors of the rainbow, and also learn stuff that I am willing to venture you don’t know about these adorable little garden dwellers.
I do not want to be sent picture books. I make it clear that I don’t review them, so by sending me Ralphina, the Roly-Poly to review the author already has a strike against her. Nevertheless, here it is in my hands, so I will offer my opinion.
While the press release which accompanied this book states that it was “written to appeal to preschoolers and early readers”, I have not yet found a child in that age-group which finds it attractive, despite taking the book to an infant school and showing it around.
Nothing in this book is quite good enough: there are a few errors in punctuation on the back cover copy and inside this book; the illustrations are fuzzy, and often unattractive; and Ralphina is a particularly unappealing heroine.
The story is predictable and unengaging, and the list of roly-poly-related facts at the end of the book was impossible for either of my sons to read: my eight-year-old, who is dyslexic, was defeated by the fancy fonts which were used while my 13-year-old, who is colour-blind, found that the multicoloured background overwhelmed the words that were printed on it. And it retails at a stonking $24.95, far more than mainstream books of this type: who is going to pay so much for a book of such inferior content?
This is another self-published book to be avoided, I’m afraid.